Indian Motorcycle has announced it will once again serve as the main sponsor of the moto-coolness overload that is the annual Wheels and Waves festival. The festival takes place each year in southern France and has long been on my list of events I want to attend.
SOMEWHAT RELATED: Racing at Dirt Quake Was More Fun Than I Could Have Imagined
Sitting in the Venn diagram intersection of motorcycles, surfing, music, and beautiful people who buy their clothes at thrift shops, Wheels and Waves has drawn riders from all across Europe and the world since 2008 (though, it’s only become an annual event more recently). It’s kind of like Dirt Quake with better weather and better food.
As the event’s organizers put it: “This gathering is a time for pure pleasure and the essentials of living. For four days Wheels and Waves stimulates all your senses. The power of the road, exposing you to all kinds of sensations, is tamed by the strength of the sea, and the harmony of the wind and the waves. And all the while the South West sun burns down on the tarmac, steel and sand.”
In other words, it’s that sort of hipster shit I am a total sucker for.
I had been planning on riding to this year’s event but a change in my life situation has resulted in severe penny-pinching. Perhaps next year. Though, news that Indian will be giving away a Scout Bobber at this year’s event has me questioning my financial restraint.
This year’s Wheels and Waves will take place 14-17 June, once again taking over the coastal town of Biarritz. Indian will be hosting a Wall of Death, as well as offering up test rides of the Scout, Scout Sixty and Scout Bobber to the handful of attendees who manage to stay sober. For those buying a four-day ticket in advance, Indian will automatically enter them into a draw to win a Scout Bobber.
As part of the event, Indian will also be bringing its newly formed DTRA Hooligan team – effectively a European squad of Hooligan racers – to a flat track event just south of the border, in San Sebastian, Spain.
– SIDEBAR: WHAT IS HOOLIGAN RACING? –
For those of you who aren’t Indian fanboys, the manufacturer supports so-called Super Hooligan racing in the United States, which is a “run what you brung” style of racing – assuming what you brung is a Scout or Scout Sixty that’s been modified for flat track use. Although hooligan racing (using street bikes on a flat track) has been around a pretty long time, this form effectively began in 2015 as a kind of PR stunt: a way for builder Roland Sands to show off a number of flat-track-inspired Scout Sixty customs.
People liked the racing so much (or, perhaps more truthfully, they liked the idea of an upright Scout so much) that it’s taken off and become an actual thing. There is even a 10-event race series this year, and the racing is now open to any street bike of 750cc or above. No changes are allowed to the bike’s steering angle, or swingarm location; only bolt-on changes are allowed.
Meanwhile, interest in flat track racing has grown steadily in Europe over recent years thanks to fun events like Wheels and Waves, and Dirt Quake. So, this year Indian has put together a European crew that will officially compete at four events: three in the UK (one of which is Dirt Quake) and one in the Netherlands.
On a hyper-local note, one of the riders, Chris Hatton, is a member of South Wales’ FTH crew – a group of young dudes and dudettes who can be seen riding choppers and customs on even the crappiest of Welsh days.
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One famous aspect of Wheels and Waves is the Punk’s Peak race, an irreverent nod to the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb that features riders on all manner of oddity charging up a local hill. Last year, Indian brought in a ringer in the form of German motorcycle racer Katja Poensgen to win the race on a nitro-boosted Scout.
For those not really interested in watching other people go fast, the event also includes ride-outs, concerts, films, surfing, skateboarding, custom bikes galore, and a whole lot of people hanging out being cool. To find out more, visit Wheels-and-Waves.com